By Laura Katauskas
In a record turnout, with more than 100 entries and 55 finalists, the Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the best of the best at its 13th Annual Best of Bolingbrook (BOBB) Awards banquet held recently at the Bolingbrook Golf Club.
Recognizing businesses’ contributions to the community and their success was paramount throughout the event. Taking home the top prize, 2017 Best of Bolingbrook Business Award was bd’s Mongolian Grill.
“They were truly deserving of the award and representative of what a business can do for the community,” said Executive Director of the Chamber Kevin O’Keeffe.
The Best of Bolingbrook Gala is an annual event that pays homage to businesses in Bolingbrook for their accomplishments. Local businesses are nominated as by their peers, reviewed by independent judging committee. Winners do not know that they have won the award until they are announced on stage.
Other category winners for the evening included Bolingbrook
Lions Club in the civic and government category, Andy’s Frozen Custard in the restaurant and hospitality category, PT Solutions in the professional services category, Costco Wholesale in the retail category, Wi-tronix in the small business category, CEP Exhibit Productions Inc. in the mid-sized business category, Ulta Beauty in the large business category, and Cruise Planners in the rising star category (in business less than two years).
O’Keeffe explained that the BOBB awards are meant to focus on how much these businesses mean to the community.
“Small business matters,” said O’Keeffe. “We have so many active in the Chamber and their success really stands out. It is nice to see this level of activity.”
O’Keeffe also called attention to another of the event’s purpose, honoring the people of the village who also stand out. Larry Greenwich of DuAll Heating and Cooling presented the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to James S. “Jim” Boan of the Village of Bolingbrook and Jim Galbraith of Advantage Chevrolet presented the 2017 Business Leadership Award to Mir Ali of the Shamrock Companies.
Boan has been in public service for more than 40 years. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Illinois, Jim worked with the Bolingbrook Park District from 1973-1984, where he started as the Superintendent of Parks and advanced to Director of the District. During his 11 years with the district, 16 neighborhood park sites were acquired and developed with playgrounds and ball fields. In addition, playgrounds were installed at each of the Bolingbrook elementary schools.
He was instrumental in the development of many park amenities including; the Deatherage-Drdak Center for senior citizens, a special recreation program for the mentally or physically disabled, the aquatic center and the Boughton Ridge Golf Course. Under his direction the park district won its first Gold Medal of Excellence from the National Recreation and Parks Association and Sports Foundation.
Boan has been a member of the Bolingbrook Jaycees and Rotary Club, serving as president in 1991-92. In 1997 Jim was hired by the Village of Bolingbrook to be Village Administrator; his title was changed to Chief of Staff in April 2001. In 2011 the Bolingbrook Park District formally dedicated 27 acres of wooded open space as “James S. Boan Woods” at the Hidden Oaks Conservation area. In 2014 Jim joined Robbins Schwartz as a partner where he continues to serve as the Village Attorney.
Mir Ali was honored with the Chamber’s Business Leadership Award. Ali began his professional career with the Shamrock Group of Companies 17 years ago and is currently the Director of Operations for one of the largest franchisees and developers of Yum Brands.
Before joining Shamrock Companies, he was an international purser and an international domicile manager for United Airlines, where he was in a leadership role for on-board services and travelled the world, fostering cultural and geographical awareness. He also speaks multiple languages besides English including Urdu, Punjabi, Portuguese and Spanish.
In 1999, Ali moved to Bolingbrook and immediately involved himself in the local community. As a member of the Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerce he was involved in numerous committees. He joined the Chamber Board of Directors in 2010 and has served in the capacity of treasurer and president of the board. His energy and vision has brought much success to the Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerce.
He is the founder of the Bolingbrook Cricket League, dedicated to the youth of the community.
For more information on the 2017 BOBB Awards or to learn about upcoming Chamber of Commerce events,call (630) 226-8420 or visit our website at www.bolingbrookchamber.org.